Smart Blood

I fear that the smartest part of my body these days is my blood.    Increasingly it seems as if my blood knows more about me than I know about me.   Some days I can’t even remember how old I am (and fortunately this is one of them) but my blood knows whether or not I have cancer.

The number of things they can test your blood for is in the bazillions.   I thought for sure (as some of you may recall) that I’d had a heart attack last summer.    It felt like a heart attack  — not that I’d ever had one before, but if I had to guess what one felt like, I’d say that I was in the ballpark in terms of chest pain.

But they took a blood sample,  and the entire emergency medical system huddled around my blood test result like it was a crystal ball.   And what did my blood have to say about the situation?   It proclaimed, “Nope, no heart attack.”

Some days my brain doesn’t know if I want chicken or steak for dinner, but my blood knows whether or not I have coronary artery disease.   That’s just unbelievable to me.   How could my blood still be operating at a Mensa level of smartness when my brain NEVER performed at that level?   Minimally at least,  why can’t the rest of me hang onto its prime like my blood is doing?

Even my muscles seem to be performing at a higher level than my brain upon occasion.    I had to drive a manual transmission car recently and it had been thirty years probably since I’d driven one.   Presto!   Muscle memory kicked in and I drove it like a champ.   But then I forgot where I put the keys when I arrived home.   Muscle memory trumped brain memory.

But nothing trumps the blood, it seems.  Your blood can know dire facts about you while the rest of your body is totally oblivious to the situation.

For example, you’d think you’d have a hint somewhere in some part of your body if you had dangerously high levels of bad cholesterol – even a wispy suspicion lurking in the deep tissue of your brain that occasionally whispered, “High cholesterol perhaps?

But no, people are usually shocked to find out they have high cholesterol.   And here their blood knew it the whole time but just didn’t tell them!   Whatever your blood knows, it tends to keep to itself apparently.

I guess the consolation here is that not only is your blood smart – it also isn’t prone to mood swings.   It’s pretty much on the path of righteousness and tells the truth as well as it can see it.

This is far different than how the rest of me operates.    In the morning my brain tells me I’m a happy-go-lucky generous gal but sometimes by 3 in the afternoon it tells me I’m a cynical, suspicious bitch.   What if my blood was that fickle?    Hey lady, you’re as fit as a fiddle!   NO YOU’RE NOT!   YOU’VE GOT DIABETES!

Really, though, you can only appreciate how darned smart your blood is when you’re halfway2dead and you’re aware of how incrementally unsmart the rest of you is becoming.   Did I or didn’t I lock the front door before I left the house?   Hmmm, I don’t really know and I’m now 30 miles from home.

But young people don’t really understand the significance yet of having incredibly smart blood that maintains its smartness throughout the aging process.   When I told my sons my revelation about just how darned smart your blood is, they looked at me like I was two wingflaps away from Planet Trixie.

But hey, I’ll take my smartness wherever I can find it these days.   I just wish there was some way, however, that I could put my brain on bypass and hook it up directly to my blood.   Then for once I really would be the smartest person in the room.

—  Marci Crestani

 

 

 


Are We Old Yet?

As I was standing in the college food court waiting for my lunch last week, a very fit and pretty female student sauntered in wearing really tight skinny jeans. They were so tight my first thought was that her legs looked like they’d been shrink-wrapped.  However, the young male students standing next to me had very different thoughts about those jeans.

“She looks hot!”   the one guy said to his friend.

“No, she looks like she has a yeast infection,” I thought to myself,    How can you wear jeans that tight in the crotch and not have one?

It would be good if my mind just stopped right there with that thought, but it didn’t.

Because then I imagined that the young woman and her young male admirer started talking, which led to them dating, which led to them in bed together, and then I wondered at what point during their sexual foreplay would the young woman stop the action and sheepishly tell the young man,  “Actually I can’t go all the way.  Sorry but I’ve got a yeast infection.”

And I imagine the young guy saying, “Oh, okay,  no problem. “  And I imagine her giving a big sigh of relief and saying, “Thanks for understanding.”

And then I imagine him saying in an offhand way, “Actually, I kind of thought you might have one because I saw that your jeans are Guess.   I don’t know why but it seems like girls who wear Guess skinny jeans get more yeast infections than girls who wear Lucky Brand.  At least that’s what I heard.   But hey, not to worry:  I know a website where you can get Monistat at 40% off!”

This is the sort of thing that I think young people are capable of knowing today – not even necessarily because of Google.  And it’s also the way I think they might talk.    But if a young person ever read what I just wrote here, they would undoubtedly think I was out of my cotton-picking mind.

The only thing this scenario proves is that my imagination is the most limber part of my body these days.  It is far more agile than my knees, which make cracking sounds like I’ve broken them every time I bend down to pick up something.   As my friend Mike says, “Every year the floor gets farther and farther away.”

But for the first time ever, I’m beginning to feel like I’m farther away from the shore of youth. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching young people from a distance, even when I’m standing right next to them.  Not the ones I know well, but strangers.   And I spend a lot of time with young people so how could this be happening?

The reverse is also true, as it turns out.  Young people are beginning to perceive me as kind of old.

My niece celebrated her 25th birthday in a craft-beer bar and she invited my husband and I to her party so hey, we went.

Wow!   The young people treated us like rock stars in that craft-beer bar – because we were the oldest people in there.  When young strangers  are that generously friendly to meet and talk to you, the subtext is,   “You’re as old as my Mom and I’m going to be nice to you!”  It was as if two telephone booths had shown up at their party.

After an hour or so, though,  our allure seemed to have faded with the young people, although I do understand why.    Both my husband and I have lost our “hearing in a crowded bar” ears.   You can only yell, “WHAT?”  23 times in a conversation before the young person decides you’re just too damn much work to talk to, even if you are potentially interesting.  We were left alone smiling at each other and trying to communicate our thoughts on the economy and the Republican primary via facial expressions – which isn’t easy, believe me.  So we decided to leave while the young people still thought of us as “so cute!” and not total whacko’s.

But just as we used to do thirty years ago after a night out at a bar, we stopped at In ‘N Out Burger on our way home.   I guess we’re not old yet – we’re just older.   Whew!  Identity crisis temporarily diverted.

Marci  Crestani


6 Signs You Have NOT Had A Heart Attack

How many times over the last 10 years have you received e-mail forwards from well-intentioned  friends where the subject line reads something along the lines of  “5 Signs of a Heart Attack” or “3 Signs of a Stroke”?     Presumably these friends are trying to help you out in a sort of mutual recognition that medical malfunctions are becoming more of a possibility —  but in reality, if you are the one having the heart attack or stroke, you need the OTHER person to be recognizing the signs and symptoms because you’ll be too preoccupied actually experiencing them.   So when you forward these kinds of e-mails, just bear in mind that you are really serving your own self-interest rather than your friendship when you hit the “Send” button.

I know this for a fact because I happened to have what I thought was a legitimate heart attack recently when I was in the company of my 21-year-old son Nick and a young woman at my school, both of whom had never received these e-mails.   Consequently they didn’t know to ask me if I felt lightheaded, was short of breath, felt nauseous or dizzy,  or had pain in my arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Instead, they looked aghast when I interrupted their conversation to announce, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”   And they asked me if I wanted them to call 911.  But you want to be the follower, not the leader, when you think you are having a heart attack, and this is why we should send these forwards to people who are only halfway2MiddleAge instead of to people who are halfway2dead.

Because trust me, when it feels like the middle of your chest is slowly but surely being compressed to the size of a cashew by some malicious unseen force,  you don’t need to read an e-mail or be a cardiologist to come to the conclusion that you might be having a heart attack.   Your mind hits the “Abort” button on whatever you happened to be thinking about at the time and it races straight to “Uh-Oh!  Heart Attack Happening Here” all of its own accord  — despite your  intense willing for the pain to just stop because the timing is inconvenient.  We were on the cusp of a 4-day Fourth of July weekend.

What would have been infinitely more helpful to me would have been an e-mail forward on the subject of “The Difference Between an Esophageal Spasm and a Heart Attack”  because it turned out I was having the former and not the latter.   And it turns out that the symptoms of an esophageal spasm are fairly identical to those of a heart attack.

When I was in the throes of my phantom heart attack, however, all I could think was, “I need aspirin”  because I’ve seen those commercials on TV where people claim their lives were saved by aspirin.   Because of these commercials,  I made a special non-multi-tasking trip to the store to buy aspirin.    There is no downside in believing that a cheap bottle of aspirin can save your life whereas I am still skeptical that a duck or a gecko knows more about insurance than my dear Christine does.  The aspirin, however, was at home in my one purse, and my heart attack was happening at school with a different purse.  This kills me because I am not purse person.

The main piece of wisdom gleaned from this portion of my misadventure is:  ALWAYS carry aspirin on you just in case you have a heart attack when you’re around young people,  because young people just don’t understand aspirin.   They have Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, marijuana and Vicodin, but you might as well be asking if they have an anvil when you ask if they have any aspirin.

Now a hop, skip and a jump later,   I was in my school’s Student Health Center.   Here I learned another lesson.   Unless you want to end up in the hospital, just ask for aspirin without explaining yourself.   Don’t say, “Could I please have a couple of aspirin because I feel like I just had a heart attack….”    There are no take-backs on “I feel like I just had a heart attack.”   Just as you can’t go out and catch errant nuclear missiles with a butterfly net, so too can you not say, “No, no, no…..I just want some aspirin – not the  entire Emergency Medical System.”

So along with the aspirin, I got 4 handsome, young firemen-paramedics, an ambulance trip to the hospital and an overnight stay there.   Unlike everyone else who complains about their hospital stay,  I thought it was great.  I felt like I’d spent the night in a top-of-the-line Motel 6, and sometimes — if you’ve ever gone on an intentional “No Plans!” long-distance driving trip —  there is nothing better than a Motel 6.  The hospital upgrade includes an Ambien, which they don’t leave on your pillow at a Motel 6.   Consequently I barely remember being awakened throughout the night for various medical measurements.   And no alarm clock woke me up in the morning, so I slept longer than I ever sleep at home.   They served me breakfast in bed and you can’t screw up yogurt.  Since I didn’t have a roommate,  I was the boss of the TV clicker.     The only thing I wished was that I had my book with me.

But at a certain point I was just ready to go home  because I was painfully aware – unlike the rest of the vast medical team – that I was a fraud.   I knew I had not had a heart attack.   How did I know?   Here are some of the signs that you have not had a heart attack:

1.   You know you have not had a heart attack if, when a team of four handsome, young firemen/paramedics crowd their way into your miniature Student Health Center examining room and ask you to unbutton your blouse so they can attach the EKG stick-ons, your first thought is not, “Oh thank God!   The paramedics are here!”  but instead is, “Oh God!   What bra did I wear?”

2.  You know you have not had a heart attack if, when a team of four handsome, young firemen/paramedics crowd their way into your  miniature Student Health Center examining room and Mr. Main Paramedic asks you to unfasten your bra to attach the EKG stick-on’s ,  your first thought is not,  “I wonder if the EKG will show I’ve had a heart attack?”   but instead is, “When did my abs get so flabby?”

3.   You know you have not had a heart attack when, as you are being rolled into the hospital on a gurney and the place is packed with visitors and nurses and aides and doctors, you think to yourself, “I look healthier than all of these people put together.”

4.  You know you have not had a heart attack when your base-line thought throughout the entire medical episode is not, “Thank God I survived!” but instead is, “Thank God I shaved this morning!”

5.   You know you have not had a heart attack when every time a person enters your  emergency room cubicle, you hear in your head the sound of  a cash-register going “ching-ching.”

6.  You know you have not had a heart attack when, presented with a bill for prepayment of your co-pay by a cherub-faced admissions intern, your only thought is, “For this amount of money, I better have had a heart attack.”

But I didn’t have a heart attack.   I was admitted for an overnight stay because my EKG was abnormal, but it turns out that my normal is actually abnormal – if that makes sense to you.    It does to me.  I went in with heart attack symptoms and ended up with an accurate personality diagnosis.  Go figure.

—– Marci Crestani


She said WHAT?!?

One of the hallmarks of being halfway 2 dead is that your brain loses its grip on your tongue.   The filters begin to fray.    The first little tear in the filter is when you begin talking out loud to yourself in public.    We are fortunate enough to be aging in the age of cellphones so people no longer think twice when they see or hear someone talking to themself because they  just assume that person is talking on a concealed cellphone.

(The worst case of this scenario, however, is that you can walk into a public bathroom and only one stall door is closed and there will be someone yakking away in there and  you realize they are talking on their cellphone while they’re on the toilet.    I always go into the stall next to this person and flush the toilet about 14 times just to let the person on the other end of the phone know how lowly they rank on the totem pole of Respect.   It ends up being a draw, though, because when Cellphone Sally and I both emerge from our stalls and meet at the sinks, I look at her like she’s disgusting and she looks at me like I have diarrhea.)

The next rip in the filter is when  — without thinking — you start saying what you really think.    It is no longer unusual for me to receive an e-mail from a friend apologizing or expressing dismay over a remark they made that “just popped out.”

But I have seen glimpses of the future and I know where this could be headed.   What I am trying to figure out is how to prevent it.

I have two quite older women friends who have said things to me during our conversations that were shocking in their honesty

First there’s 83-year-old  Grace who was being brought down by lung cancer.

For as long as I’ve known her, Grace has always been a lady.   Smart, elegant….classy.   Not prim and proper but reserved in her commentary.   Toward the end of her life, though,  she began throwing me curveballs.

One day we were discussing the improbably long-lasting marriage of a mutual – albeit difficult – friend.  I commented, “I don’t know what her husband sees in her.   I would have thought they’d have been divorced by now.”

There was a pause before Grace – looking up at me from her wheelchair with those beautiful clear eyes of hers  —  replied thoughtfully, “Well…. maybe she gives good head.”

I couldn’t have been more surprised if the words came out of the hairbrush I was holding.

“GRACE!”  I exclaimed.

Grace looked at me sagely.   “I  don’t really know what that means,” she admitted .  “But I think it applies in this situation.”

Talk about words of wisdom!   I regretted all the years we wasted talking politics.

Then there’s my 76-year-old  friend Marie, a widow who was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.   Marie is a genuine eccentric – in the dictionary sense of the word —  with both endearing and maddening childlike qualities.    She only wears floor length muumuus (moo-moo’s!) and has a closet full of them.    She only wears a slip underneath her muumuu…..no bra for her Guiness-Book-of-World-Record-size boobs and no underpants.   Lest you think I’m being a disloyal Big Mouth friend here, let me reassure you that white-haired Marie will share these same facts with other people, including strangers, without any embarrassment. She also wears huge white glasses with pink or purple-tinted glass in them.  When Marie walks into a room,  everyone notices her.  In the parlance of show biz, she has ‘presence.’

I accompanied Marie to the hospital for a CT scan, and she was given two large cups of contrast material to drink.   She did NOT like the taste of the contrast material.

“UGH!” she said after taking the first sip.   “This is TERRIBLE!    I can’t drink two cups of this stuff!”

Other people in the small, crowded waiting room nodded understandingly.  I did my best to cheerlead her on,  but even I was aware of how flimsy my efforts sounded.    What if someone made me drink two cups of mushroom juice?   Marie gave me a “I know you’re trying to help, but just shut-up” look.

After yet another tortuous sip, she said,  “You know what this stuff tastes like?”

Because there was no such a thing as a private conversation in this small room, we all looked at her, waiting for her answer.   I expected her to say, “It tastes like shit!”  because that’s something Marie would say without blinking in public.

Instead, Marie said, “It tastes like COME!”

The only sound in that room was a whooshing sound as everyone’s jaw dropped into their lap, and averted their eyes.   And still Marie didn’t stop.

“I just never got on to the taste of that stuff,”  she told us, shaking her head.

All I could think of – but didn’t dare say – was, “You eat quail eggs and eel and cow’s tongue, and you think SEMEN tastes weird?”

These comments were outside of Marie’s verrrrrry generous sense of what’s appropriate.   And that makes me nervous.

We all know about the “dirty old man” syndrome in which men who are quite, quite old revert back to adolescent  levels of sexual humor.  It’s a weary sense of humor at best and pathetic at its worst.   But very old women, I’ve noticed,  come up with these thoughts and insights on sex that blow your doors off with their freshness.   It’s as if the observant little elf who has crouched inside of them for all of these years is finally springing out of the box.

And this makes me wonder what kind of little person is biding its time within me.   I guess that will be my next book.    To be written after my family disinherits me for this one.

–  Marci Crestani


15 Rules for Houseguests

Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God was truly the Gold standard of Womanhood to which I aspired when I was younger, except for the Immaculate Conception part, which made me feel sort of sorry for her.    The Catholic religion really blew it on the Immaculate Conception idea.   Nobody would go for abortion these days if they thought they had a chance of making a sibling  for baby Jesus.

I imagine if you were a houseguest at the Virgin Mary’s hut, she would be the ultimate concierge to make your stay as comfortable as possible, and for most of my adult life I worked hard to be that same kind of  hostess-with-the-mostess.

However……..

When you’re halfway to dead, you reach a point where you grow weary of being unconditionally nice to your houseguests all day long in your own home.   Plus you realize that no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to get your own statue and alcove in a church, let alone your own prayer and holy card.   On the night you find yourself sneaking out of the house to do some drive-by yelling at skateboarding teenagers, you return home conditionally nice…..and happier.

So to make everyone’s stay in my abode more pleasant and memorable in a good way, I came up with the following 15 Rules for Houseguests:

1.  Don’t start off your visit by putting five little bags of airplane nuts on my kitchen counter as a treat for me.

2.  No leftover food item that’s smaller than a cell phone  may be wrapped in foil and put in the refrigerator  on the pretense that you are going to “eat it later.”

3.   Even if you offer to pay for my ticket, I am still not going to Disneyland with you.  This actually works in your favor because if I did go with you and you paid, you’d spend the whole long ride back to my house thinking about what a bitch I was for the $80 it cost you to get me in.

4.  And don’t come home from Disneyland with a “gift” for me,   unless Disneyland now sells merchandise with absolutely NO LOGOS OF ANY, ANY, ANY KIND on it —  in which case I could use some kitchen towels.

5.  As far as conversation goes, we’re not interested in Ripley’s-Believe-It-or-Not Profound Tragedy stories that happened to your hairdresser’s mother’s friend or anyone else whose relationship to you relies on a combination of nouns that become adjectives.  You may gossip only about family and friends that we know well.

6.  Sexual scandals about ANYONE, on the other hand, are always welcome.  In this case, we  don’t need to know the person or how you know the person – or even if it’s a Real Person and not a figment of your perverted imagination.   All we ask is that the story be salacious enough to  make it onto the Jerry Springer show.

7.  Please bear in mind that your hosts do not usually drink this much alcohol and therefore are not genuine candidates for rehab.   We are merely self-medicating.

8.  No, I have not seen your shoes lying around somewhere.

9.  If I ask you what you’d like to eat or do that day, don’t respond with, “I don’t care…… whatever you want.”   CARE!  The reason I’ve asked you is because I’ve either run out of ideas or I have way too many of them.  Just don’t get too attached to your answer.

10.  All sunblock that leaves your room becomes community property, especially if it’s expensive, in which case it becomes solely mine, and like your shoes, no, sorry,  I haven’t seen it lying around somewhere.

11.   This does not mean I also stole your shoes.

12.  If you care to dispose of any garbage which you do not want anyone in my family to see for some reason that now makes me really want to see it,  either take it home with you or plan to be here on a Monday/Tuesday which is when people put their trash cans out in the street for garbage pick-up and you can dump your secret in a neighbor’s can while we’re sleeping.   Bear in mind, though, that our neighbors across the street have a new baby and are probably up at that odd hour and are probably so mind-numbingly bored from trying for 2 hours to get their baby back to sleep that —  for sheer entertainment value – they will probably venture out after you to see what kind of trash is making you sneak out of the house in the middle of the night.   They won’t tell us about it, but they’ll smile at you knowingly on Wednesday, so be prepared.

13.  Your transportation problems are for you to solve unless your problems mean that you are going to have to stay at my house for one more day – in which case I will decisively intervene to help you figure out a way to get to the airport.

14.  When you pack up to leave,  please take your spare change with you off the top of the dresser.   What are you thinking:  You’re leaving us a tip?   Since the U.S. currency is no longer tied to the gold standard, you might as well be leaving us screws and nails.

15.  Most Important of All:   When you return home,  don’t thank me by e-mail!   Send me a real card.   Otherwise I’m going to come and visit you.

In my heart of hearts, I know Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God is reading this and striking her breast with the lament, “Where did I go wrong?”

But I’m probably not going to have any houseguests for the next three years now because I’ll have scared all my family and friends away.

—  Marci Crestani


So Smart, and Yet So Very D-U-M

There are many young people today who can’t multiply 7 times 4 without the aid of a computer app —  while I can multiply in my head all the way through the 12’s at the speed of sound.   Yet I’m widely considered to be the stupid one because I don’t know how to use the app.

For generations, the definition of smart was agreed upon.   There were three types of smart:  book smart, street smart and “smart with your hands.”   You fell predominantly into one category with perhaps glimmers of talent in one of the other categories.    However,  a new type of smart has emerged as the overarching superpower of smart:   technologically smart.    Book smart, street smart and “smart with your hands” are mere subcategories –  like add-ons.

What this means is that if you can read the Magna Carta in five different languages – (or how about if you even know what the Magna Carta IS) — but you can’t color-correct the age spots on your pictures in Picassa, you are considered an idiot by those who are not yet halfway to dead.

This is demoralizing for people like me who have lived the vast majority of their life thinking of themselves as basically smart.   My parents (also basically smart people) and my generation were both caught by surprise with the rapid advances in technology  – but my parents’ generation could pass off their failure to stay current to the fact that they’re old and don’t have the desire or need to keep up with it all.

I don’t have that option.   If I didn’t keep up with technology, I wouldn’t be able to drive my car in the rain at night.    The dashboard on my car even has spa options, and I found out the hard way that if I didn’t quickly figure out the right combination of buttons to push and dials to adjust, my buttocks were going to need barbecue sauce by the time I arrived at my destination.

Don’t misunderstand me:   I love the effects of technology.   I love the seat-warmers in my car and I love my computer and my cell phone.   What I don’t understand is why it takes 3 billion buttons to make it all work.    Advancement means “progression to a higher state of development”  but only the “ends” of technology are advancing.   I can take pictures with my phone!  The “means” to achieving the end are regressing.    (“Which 15 buttons do I have to push before I can TAKE a picture with my phone?”)   The ends and the means are not progressing hand in hand.

For example, my parents grew up in the age of radio, and yet even when their television set went from black-and-white to color, they could still turn it on every single day when they were my age without reading a manual and swearing and calling their kids.   I can’t always do that – and I grew up in the age of television.    I feel Amish when it takes more brain cells to turn on my television than it does to watch it.

And yet I find comfort in imagining that every person who has ever worked at NASA has said to themselves on at least one occasion, “Jeez, here I am a rocket scientist and I can’t even figure out how to turn on my damn TV!”.

But when I try to deconstruct the television clicker, I think to myself, “How did the designer ever sell this idea to the sales force?   Why wouldn’t the sales force take one look at that clicker and say, ‘This is f-ing ridiculous!’”   Which leads me to conclude that clicker designers are actually better salespeople than they are designers.   And makes me wish that they’d put their talents to selling a peace plan to the Mideast.

The only thing that keeps me sane is patience.   I know our day is coming, fellow halfway-to-deaders!   We may be dead when our day comes, but it is coming.    And that’s the day when young people will say, “Look!   This television clicker only has 4 buttons!  On/off, volume up/volume down, channel up/channel down,  and enter channel number so you don’t have to scroll through all the numbers to get to channel #987!    Isn’t that great?”

To which we will reply, “Yes.  We know.  It Is.”

– Marci Crestani


Could Those Be……NOSE HAIRS?

There are a few things you shouldn’t do after 11 o’clock at night when you’re halfway to dead, and one of them is to be anywhere near a high-magnifying mirror while you are keeping company with a pair of top-of-the-line grooming scissors,  a glass of wine and a rerun of an old “House” episode on the television set.    If you could see the inside of my nose, you wouldn’t have to read any further.

The main problem with a high-magnifying mirror is that you lose all sense of proportion.  If you tilt that mirror the wrong way while you’re sitting at the kitchen table and tweezing your eyebrows – as I was on that fateful evening —  you might wind up seeing deep into your nasal cavities,  and what might otherwise look like a cluster of basic, everyday, garden-variety nose hairs suddenly looks like the top of  Elvis Presley’s head.   I had never noticed that I even HAD hairs inside my nose until that moment, but there they were:  as if the inside of my nose was wearing a  toupe.   It’s the sort of thing over which I would make fun of other women for having, but it wasn’t so funny on me.   Bear in mind that I didn’t notice anything peculiar when I flipped the mirror back over and looked in the regular magnification – but on that high-enhancement side I looked like the “before” picture for a cosmetology product that has not yet been invented.

We expect men to start growing hair out of new orifices as they age – well, maybe not out of their MOUTH!    I know men whose ears serve as vases for the beautiful bouquets of hair that sprout out of that location.   And I know men whose nose hairs erupt so fulsomely from their nasal cavities that you could almost say they have a nose-stache.    When a man gets to a certain age and you’re stuck for what to buy him as a gift,  it dawns on you that perhaps he might like one of those grooming kits with the little scissors and tweezers  –  just not for Valentine’s Day.

But I am a woman!   I’ve never heard of women having this problem!  My questions at that hour were:  Am I an anomaly or am I drunk?  More importantly, though, should  I cut these hairs  or was this a slippery slope?   What if they grow back triply thick?  What if I develop impetigo – that  horrendous bacterial infection – from poking around in that moist, germ-welcoming tunnel?   The thought that trumped all these legitimate worries, however, was:   What if people have been wondering all this time when I’m going to get around to noticing the fact that I have a Rod Blagojevich level of hair inside my nose?   And then after I fix the problem,  people start whispering amongst themselves, “Did you notice?   She finally cut them!”

But was I actually capable of trimming these hairs without butchering the inside of my nose?   Hmmmmmmmm.   There on the television set was one of Dr. House’s minions questioning one of his orders.   “Can we actually do that to a patient?” she asked, to which  Dr. House replied, “Well, if we can’t, we’ll find out!”   Could I actually cut my nose hairs?    Well, I guess I’d find out.

Word to the wise:  You shouldn’t put a pair of scissors up your nose if you have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which is a side of my personality that wakes up and dances after 11 p.m.    Let’s not just empty the dishwasher – let’s wash the dishwasher!    Let’s not just wipe down the kitchen counter – let’s try to whiten that grout with bleach and a Q-tip!

Which led to:  Let’s not just trim some of my nose hairs – let’s cut them as close to my nose wall as possible!   Which I did.   Fortunately, because I was watching “House,”  I did indeed cut them with surgical precision.   Thank you, Hugh Laurie.   And let me tell you:  You can’t believe how much better you can breathe after  you’ve given the inside of your nose a Brazilian!   The air goes all the way down to your toes.    I am constantly high just from breathing.

At first this was exhilarating.  I can literally feel the air flowing through my nose with every single inhalation.  There’s a downside to this, though.  If the purpose of nose hair is to keep dust, allergens, dirt and the like out of your lungs, it goes hand in hand that nose hair also keeps air from sneaking through.   So all this air rushing through my nasal cavities is beginning to be a drag.    How would you like to be reminded all day long of the fact that……you’re breathing?   It’s a time-sucker, believe me.

Still,  I am left wondering whether I’d always had hairs like this on the inside of my nose or if this  is a new halfway-to-dead development.   The parts of my anatomy that need grooming are beginning to take up more and more and more of my day.    Correspondingly, all of this grooming is still having a net result of diminishing returns.   In other words, it’s taking me more time to look worse as I grow older.

But you know what?  At the moment,  I don’t care if I grow a bush out of my nose.  I’m never going inside that place again.    And so at some point in what I hope is the very near future, I’ll let you know how long it takes for nose hair to grow back.

I wish, though, that  all of you have a high-magnifying mirror when you tilt your head back tonight to check out your own nose hairs.

– Marci Crestani


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